Chinwe Egwim: “It is important that we support each other. As we climb our respective career ladders we need to periodically look down and be intentional about pulling others up.”

Chinwe Egwim is a renowned economist with 700+ published economic notes under her belt. She is currently the Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research and Intelligence at Coronation Merchant Bank, a leading financial institution in Africa where she drives economic intelligence, macroeconomic strategy, thought leadership as well as government relations among others.

She has worked at reputable organisations within the financial services industry which include – FBNQuest Merchant Bank, FBN Capital, Fitch Ratings Milan and the Central Bank of Nigeria. She was appointed as a National Consultant by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to lead the services trade project partly driven by UNCTAD. Through this project she successfully led the UNECA National Seminar on global and regional value chain analysis for the financial services sector as well as produced a policy document on the back of extensive data analysis, which serves as auxiliary resource for the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

Chinwe’s contributions have also supported high-level committees’ setup by development agencies like the World Bank. She has been included to IMF Article IV consultations, Africa Development Bank Meetings and as a board committee member on research at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group. She has served as Resident Economist for the research-based initiative, AiR – Africa Investment Roundtable. Furthermore, she has been appointed to serve on advisory boards and also provides guidance to select board committees.

Chinwe is a highly sought after thought leader and has delivered keynotes on several reputable platforms.

Her ability to understand, process and extract value from data has landed her multiple high-level public speaking roles on expert panels. Her TEDx talk on Equipping the Female Economy has contributed to conversations around empowering women. She is frequently pulled in to give expert advice on economic trends across print media and also on news channels such as CNBC Africa, Bloomberg, and BBC among others. Her article on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Women was published by the World Economic Forum.

Chinwe authored a book titled, Understanding Economic “Jargon”. The book uses a simple approach to breakdown how economic indicators and the investment climate react to economic shocks and upswings. It has ranked as a bestseller in Education Leadership on Amazon.

Read our Q&A with Her and be Inspired.

Who is Chinwe Egwim? Well, based on feedback from family, friends, colleagues, and mentees… I’ll say that I am a goal-oriented, solutions-driven, big-hearted, always keen to add value, confident, and an intellectually savvy woman. I’m very deliberate about depositing in my goodwill bank and fiercely protective of my support system. I also happen to be a renowned economist, corporate executive, author, and gender equity leader. I’m a dedicated godmother to my seven godchildren—spending time with each of them and supporting their respective parents in molding them is incredibly exhilarating. I love to travel, and explore different locations, food and experiences.

Professional Background

I am currently the Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research/Intelligence at a top-tier financial institution. My role as an economist is refreshing as it gives me an opportunity to critically analyze macroeconomic trends (growth, inflation, reserves, policy rate, fx, sectorial and trade activities, among others) for business, policy, and investment decision purposes. I currently have well over 700 economic notes under my belt and have engaged in high-level projects, one of which was being appointed as a National Consultant by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; where I led the services trade project partly driven by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Furthermore, my contributions have supported notable committees setup by development agencies like the World Bank. I kicked-off my career as an economist in the fiscal analysis division of the research department at the Central Bank of Nigeria (Abuja HQRS). However, I have spent the larger part of my career as a professional economist in the private sector.

What do you consider the greatest achievement in your life so far? I’ll start by saying that I still regard myself as “work in progress”. There is so much I intend to achieve and as such, I am still evolving. However, I do recognize that I have hit significant milestones and succeeded at goals I tagged as short or medium-term goals at a certain time in my life and I do not take these achievements for granted. There are so many highlights to list. However, every recognition, award, feature and appointment are listed as significant achievements. Furthermore, successfully executing on seemingly difficult projects are considered as milestone achievements.

What inspired your decision to have a career as an economist? Thinking back years ago, my journey into economics was ignited by my dad. I had planned on studying chemical engineering or computer science. However, that was adjusted (last minute) by my dad to Economics. I remember being displeased at the time, but in hindsight, I am so grateful that he changed it. Regarding specialization in economics, apart from securing economic inclined degrees, I engaged in a lot of volunteering activities. Volunteering allows you to learn more about yourself and help with unleashing hidden passions. Through these activities, I discovered my flare for social impact and the interlinkages it has with macro, financial and development economics. Furthermore, my passion for economics was strengthened when I realized I could use it as a tool to shape conversations that assist decision-makers and stimulate actionable steps for relevant impact.

What inspires you to get out of bed every morning? My deep sense of responsibility and desire to channel my energy toward making a sustainable impact.

Please share some of the challenges you’ve had so far in your career and how you are able to overcome them and succeed regardless. Well, this is no longer a current issue. However, earlier in my career, being the only female or in some cases, one of the very few females in an industry meeting or engagement was somewhat challenging as asserting my voice and making relevant contributions in a relatively loud room was a struggle. I quickly nipped this challenge in the bud. The antidote – ample and very extensive preparation before every meeting or engagement and understanding that you tastefully seize as many opportunities to contribute/ speak as opposed to waiting for a microphone toss which rarely happens.

What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned? Nobody owes you anything. To be more, you’ve got to do more.

What would you say are some key skills a young woman must have in order to build a career as an economist? Data Analysis, Economic Forecasting, Economic Writing, Networking, Public Speaking and Presentation, Primary and Secondary Research skills.

You authored a book, “Understanding Economic Jargon” which we believe beyond being a best seller on Amazon, is a viable resource for anyone, anywhere. What inspired you to write the book?  I saw a gap and I was fully aware that I have what it takes to assist with closing that gap. As Economists, Financial Experts or Industry Leaders, we tend to talk to ourselves a lot and we understand each other but there are so many people aching to make sense of economic-related matters and they do not just get it, because of the technical terms and/or “jargon”. I am usually asked to break things down to relatable and digestible levels- basically, simpler formats. That is what my book does. It is an easy guide for anyone trying to stay economically alert, from an African’s vantage point.

Who inspires you and why? If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of others. I have a lot of people that have inspired me and still inspire me. My parents feature at the top of this list. They taught me from a very young age the importance of hard work and staying laser-focused on my selected goals. I have strong mentors, industry leaders, and experts inside and outside my industry that have guided me and served as compasses for me to navigate better. As a mentee to inspirational leaders, I have been able to sharpen my technical skills, I have also been given opportunities to add value to high-level projects and build very strong networks.

What is your take on “women supporting women”? It is important that we support each other. As we climb our respective career ladders we need to periodically look down and be intentional about pulling others up. However, it is important to note that, to be pulled up you need to become more deliberate about equipping yourself, positioning yourself, and becoming valuable so that it becomes easier for others to pull you up when opportunities present themselves.

Time travel or teleportation? Time travel

What would you like to be remembered for? Lasting positive impact that supports the growth and development of others.

Connect with Chinwe Here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *